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Fitness After 40: Building the Right Workout for a Better Body

Woman Exercising with Daughter

Exercise! It’s vital to your health and well-being, so here’s some tips on what you need to do to stay (or get) in shape at midlife. (You may want to check with your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise program if you have health concerns or if you haven’t exercised in a long time.)

Exercise Regularly

There are many physical activities that have been shown to help protect and strengthen the heart, bones, and muscles, as well as maintain and improve balance, body weight, mood, and one’s overall sense of well-being. You’ve got to mix it up a few times a week to keep improving your health. Here are a few activities to introduce variety into your routine:

  • Brisk walking
  • Jogging
  • Biking or spinning
  • Aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Tennis
  • Weight training
  • Interval training

Strength Training

A prescription for pumping iron two to three times per week may be just what your healthcare provider ordered. Around age 30, you begin losing roughly 1% of your muscle mass each year. Because muscle burns fat, this actually leads to fat-based weight gain. You can reverse this process and fight osteoporosis by weight training. You’ll need to work your major muscle groups (including legs, arms, core, and butt) with some basic moves.

As you get stronger, you must increase the amount of resistance you use to keep building strength. Your muscles should fatigue between 8 to 12 or 12 to 15 repetitions. If you don’t want to use weights, try medicine balls, cables, or bands for resistance.

Stretching

Taking brief stretch breaks every day is a great idea (especially if you work behind a computer). Muscles and tendons in your legs and back tend to stiffen up, and staying flexible requires attention as we get older.

And don’t forget: you'll need plenty of sleep to recover from this physical exercise, plus a healthy diet.

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